Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) announced his intention Thursday to resign from the Senate amidst accusations of sexual misconduct — but managed to take a parting shot at Presidential Donald Trump and Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore.
Franken declared on the Senate floor:
[T]oday I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate. I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.
Both Trump and Moore have denied allegations of sexual misconduct, though Trump apologized for “locker room talk” on an open mic during a 2005 taping of Access Hollywood.
Critics of Franken’s decision have suggested that the Democratic Party is attempting to “clean house” and rid itself of politicians who have been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct in order to mount an attack on Moore — and to renew attacks on Trump that failed to derail his presidential campaign in 2016.
Indeed, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) drew a direct parallel between Franken and Trump on Thursday, suggesting that the president should resign as Franken had done.
In resigning, Franken actually denied some of the accusations against him, saying that his previous, contrite statements “gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that, in fact, I haven’t done.”
He added: “Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others, I remember very differently.”
The irony, he seemed to suggest, was that he was being punished for what he had not done, while others won office in spite of what they had (he presumed) done.
Though most of the claims of sexual misconduct over the last few months have involved Democrats, the party is trying to reclaim the moral high ground in anticipation of what they hope will be another “Year of the Woman” in the 2018 midterm elections.
To that end, Franken fell on his sword to allow the party to attack Trump.